Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Times They Are A-Changin'

 Cheers! It's hard to believe that FIVE seasons of Downton Abbey have passed. Each season has delighted and compelled us to watch every event in the lives of the Crawley family, their friends, and their servants. Love 'em (the Dowager Countess) or hate 'em (Thomas), there'll be a Highclere Castle-sized hole in our entertainment enjoying lives at the end of this season.

            So, in true Carson fashion, check to make sure all the necessities worthy of such an occasion are in place:

            Hair: coiffed
            Tiara: polished
            Elbow-length gloves: itchy
            Shirt collars: starched
            Dinner jacket: brushed
            Silver: gleaming
            The savory: warmed
            The children: in the nursery
            Upper lip: stiffened but quivering

            It appears that change will be the theme for our final season. Change is coming to the Abbey, whether we like it or not, and more to the point, whether the Crawleys like it or not.

            Our first change is a happy one, as we await the nuptials of Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson. Before the happy day, however, a fairly sizable obstacle occurred to Mrs. Hughes. Now, I consider myself a good friend. However, I cannot imagine being asked to perform the act of friendship Mr. Hughes asked Mrs. Patmore! How she ever managed to screw up the courage to ask Mr. Carson – so starch, prim, and proper – about “that side of things,” I’ll never know! It would be more than I could bear.

            Mrs. Patmore, intrepid as she is, carried out her mission (however awkward) and discovered the great romantics of our time, like Romeo, Valentino, & Gable, have nothing on the romantic prowess of Charlie Carson. His words of love about Mrs. Hughes would make anyone melt. A positive change indeed.

            Robert is coming to the realization the Abbey cannot continue to be run as it was in the Good Old Days. He sees a change in staffing on the horizon. Although it is painful, it appears inevitable.

            There is that old expression, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Lady Mary falls into this category. Her self-centered lifestyle continues to cause problems. Had Robert not nipped the demands of the chambermaid in the bud, who knows how long she would have haunted Mary? Mary refuses to believe the Abbey shoud change for anyone. She is determined to carry on as if nothing happened. We’ll see if she can pull it off.

            The Dowager Countess, delightfully, never changes! Her wit and intelligence are as sharp as ever. I fear, however, she will be faced with her first losing proposition. I fear she will ultimately lose control of the village hospital. And by the way – have any of you researched “almner?” Violet is the president of the hospital, but Isobel is the almner. No worries, I took the liberty of looking it up myself! An almner is like a modern-day social worker; they help patients with social and financial difficulties. I’m also pleased to see that Violet has not run out of quips targeted at Isobel. “I wonder… does it ever get cold on the moral high ground.”

            Another unchangeable is Edith. Will the cloud of gloom which has shrouded her for five seasons continue? It’s a well-fitting garment that I’m not sure she can shake. Already, she’s running into problems at the newspaper, and we can’t believe the Drew family will go quietly into the night.
           Daisy has morphed from a mousy kitchen maid to a political revolutionary. Ms. Buntings’ teachings certainly stuck, to the downfall of poor Mr. Mason. By not being able to control her temper, she sealed Mr. Mason’s fate. Hopefully, she won’t do any more damage. Mr. Mason can’t bear it!

            As for the Dowager’s household, Mrs. Danker is sneaking up on Mrs. O’Brien for most contemptible. She managed to get both households in a dither about their future employment. No worries, though; now that the Dowager knows what Danker’s been up to, she’ll be the worm wriggling at the end of a hook.
            Finally, we come to Anna and Bates. Of all the characters, I wish them the most change. If anyone is due for a good break, it’s they. Anna appears unable to have a baby. Will that be this season’s crisis? Time will tell!

On to week two!

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